Between sustainability commitments and anticipated market requirements

Exploring the resilience of the techno-economic innovation paradigm in the midstream of construction research

Keywords: Socio-Technical Integration Research (STIR), Anticipated Market Requirements, Construction Industry, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), Constructive Technology Assessment

Abstract

This article studies ways of dealing with the tension between a commitment to sustainable and responsible research and anticipated market requirements in the midstream of a research process in architecture and construction. Using a slightly modified version of Socio-Technical Integration Research (STIR), we explored the chances of questioning the primacy of the techno-economic innovation paradigm by deliberately provoking reflections through STIR interactions. Our research underlines the difficulties and limitations of challenging an orientation towards values of efficiency and productivity in favour of social and environmental values in the midstream of the research process and examines how the techno-economic innovation paradigm is able to insulate itself against critical questioning. It sheds light at the critical role of the underlying assumption that marketability of prospective outcomes is not one objective amongst others but the precondition for all others and at two argumentative patterns we termed the "lack-of-agency" and the "reconciliation-after-all" pattern.

Author Biographies

Deniz Frost, University of Stuttgart, Department of Social Sciences, Chair for Sociology of Technology, Risk and Environment, Germany

Sociologist at the chair for sociology of technology, risk and environment at the University of Stuttgart´s Department of Social Science. His research focuses on research practices and the integration of social and environmental considerations in research process. Thereby, he also investigates questions of (social) sustainability, socio-technical transformation and the responsible design of technology. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4301-4168

Kathrin Braun, University of Stuttgart, Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies, Germany

Political scientist at the Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS) at the University of Stuttgart. Her research focuses on the question how new sociotechnical and technoeconomic developments can be shaped in a democratic, socially just and responsible way, with a particular focus on the area of critical biopolitics studies and reproductive medicine and more recently the socio-digital transformation of planning and construction. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2015-3149

Cordula Kropp, University of Stuttgart, Department of Social Sciences, Chair of Sociology of Technology, Risk and Environment, Germany

Sociologist and head of the chair for sociology of technology, risk and environment at the University of Stuttgart. Her research focuses on the study of sociotechnical transformation processes such as infrastructure change and controversial transformations in agriculture, construction, urban planning, energy, and mobility. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0373-1138

Published
2022-02-28